Today, Inhabit IQ announced to its LiveRez customers that founder and CEO Tracy Lotz and CFO Rich Cook are leaving the company. The email stated, “After more than 20 years of shaping the face of the vacation rental industry, LiveRez CEO, Tracy Lotz, has decided it’s time to step away from his role at LiveRez. Rich Cook has also decided to step out of the VP of Finance role and will be working with Inhabit IQ to transition his finance and accounting responsibilities by the end of the year.”According to the email, Inhabit IQ EVP Scott Butler will be “assisting with the transition of leadership responsibilities to Joy Ritter, who will serve as VP of Operations, empowering the LiveRez team to ensure we are meeting the needs and challenges of our partners. Joy will work closely with Alayna Hix, Director of Product, to drive strategy and execution of the product roadmap.”
In May 2019, LiveRez joined the Vacation Brands portfolio, a rollup of short-term rental technology companies led by Knoxville-based private equity firm, Greater Sum Ventures.
In early September, GSV combined Vacation Brands with its multifamily proptech portfolio Property Brands under a new umbrella named Inhabit IQ.
On September 10, LiveRez announced to its clients that it was doubling the cost of its software from .5% to 1% of reservations. Two weeks later, the announcement was followed by a mandatory change to the Terms and Conditions saying that if customers did not accept the company’s changes, LiveRez could turn off access to their software with short notice.
According to one user, “On September 24, 2019, they locked many LiveRez users out of our systems and forced us to agree to a 9-paged Terms and Conditions document before we could continue operating. The document recommended us to review it with an attorney, but did not allow ANY time to even read or review, we were locked out of our system . . . what kind of company behaves this way? And this was after announcing a 100% increase in our rates, with a 30-day notice.”
On September 30, LiveRez walked back that policy changing the time period to 120 days.
In a recent VRM Intel interview with Chad Scott and Scott Butler, we asked about working with company founders. Scott said that Inhabit IQ retains the leadership teams in its investments: “Our operating thesis has been to buy these companies and make sure that the entire leadership team stays—which is why we don’t do full acquisitions. These are investments because we want to be aligned going forward with the CEOs and management teams within these companies, all striving for the same thing, which is continuing to drive growth—just more quickly with access to more resources.”
We also asked, is there a point that Inhabit IQ would remove a CEO? According to Chad, yes. “I can speak from experience that this happened twice on the multi-family side when we did do that. They were making decisions for their business that were disruptive to—not only to their business—but to closing down integrations, not wanting to partner. You can’t do that.”
He added, “We are looking to grow and expand these companies, and if the leadership discontinues doing that and is not aligned in that effort, then we will make a change.”
The annual LiveRez Partner Conference begins on Monday, October 28, in Memphis, Tennessee.